Cubs: We can expect another great season from Kyle Hendricks

(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Don’t be late, class will be in session on April 1. Cubs manager David Ross announced on Tuesday that right-hander Kyle Hendricks will take the mound on Opening Day against the Pirates. This will mark the second-straight season ‘The Professor’ gets the nod as the team’s ace.

"“I feel like Kyle,” Ross said, “his resume, his leadership, his poise, all that goes into being the Opening Day starter, just the extra kind of pomp and circumstance that goes with Opening Day, and especially on this coming year as well, I mean, every arrow points to Kyle.”"

It hasn’t been a perfect spring, but Hendricks has proven to be reliable enough for Ross to count him again as the team’s No.1 starter.

2021 Spring Training Statistics:

  • Hendricks (3 starts): 8.1 IP 6 ER 12 H 2 BB 11 SO

I wouldn’t look too deep into the handful of starts Hendricks has made in spring training. This will be his eighth season in the big leagues, and he has proven to be the most consistent starter on the roster in recent years. There’s a good chance a veteran like Hendricks uses exhibitions to experiment with different things he might try in the regular season.

Whenever he finishes his career, Hendricks will go down as one of the greatest acquisitions in franchise history. In July 2012, former team president Theo Epstein traded right-hander Ryan Dempster to the Rangers in exchange for the 2011 eighth-round pick out of Dartmouth.

Since making his MLB debut in 2014, Hendricks established himself as one of the most consistent starters in the league. The right-hander holds a career 3.12 ERA and 1.105 WHIP in seven MLB seasons.

Kyle Hendricks Last 5 Seasons:

  • 2016 (31 games): (16-8, 2.13 ERA) 190 IP 0.979 WHIP
  • 2017 (24 games): (7-5, 3.03 ERA) 139.2 IP 1.189 WHIP
  • 2018 (33 games): (14-11, 3.44 ERA) 199 IP 1.146 WHIP
  • 2019 (30 games): (11-10, 3.46 ERA) 177 IP 1.130 WHIP
  • 2020 (12 games): (6-5, 2.88 ERA) 81.1 IP 0.996 WHIP

Hendricks was crowned as the league’s ERA leader in 2016, and rose to the occasion in Game 7 of the World Series that same season.

He’s proven to be clutch and was lights out on Opening Day last summer.